Last Updated on March 28, 2010 by Jimson Lee
After eight books, A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring is the one closest to John Wooden’s heart: a moving and inspirational guide to the power of mentorship.
On October 14, 2009, John Wooden turns 99 years old. As active and vocal as ever, Wooden heads into his tenth decade eager to share what he has gained from being mentored—sage advice from a master mentor himself.
Coach Wooden’s winning streak at UCLA remains unchallenged, a remarkable feat of sportsmanship that demonstrated the power of inspiration and mentoring. But A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring is not a basketball or sports book. These are valuable lessons applicable to every aspect of life. This is a cry for giving back to others as others have given to us.
Focusing on seven people who helped form his ideas and ideals—from figures like Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa to his father and wife—Wooden argues mentors are not heroes we worship blindly but leaders who have earned our trust. We may not always agree with them, not to mention chafe at their advice, but we return to them again and again for counsel.
In celebrating these personal mentors Wooden reveals new aspects about his own upbringing in Indiana and the often bumpy road to a career in Big 10 basketball (including his tutelage under other coaches like Earl Warriner, Glen Curtis, and Piggy Lambert). He concludes with a portrait of his greatest association: the love of his life, his wife Nellie.
A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring also gives voice to the innumerable recipients of Wooden’s own mentorship on and off the court. In seven additional essays, Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andy Hill, Roy Williams, Dale Brown, Bob Vigars, and Cori Nicholson (his great granddaughter) show how the spirit of mentorship is carried on through the Coach’s many students.